NBN Online for the week of January 21, 2008

(Plain Text Version) for full graphical version, click here.

In This Issue:

Front Page
NAHB, Administration in Sync on Housing Legislation Need
Builders: Today’s Rate Cut Is Tomorrow’s Sale
Avoid the Lines, Register Online for IBS by Friday, Jan. 25
NAHB Branding Online Survey Coming Soon
Coast to Coast
Falling Timbers: Good News for Builders, Buyers as Lumber Prices Hit Two-Year Low
Building Products
Lutron System Remotely Controls Home Lighting
Lubrizol Offers Versatile Water Distribution Manifold System
Sage Software Improves Visibility of Critical Business Data
Dow Structural Insulated Sheathing Faster to Install
Bose Entertainment System Integrates Seamlessly Into Home
Lennox Products Keep Indoor Air Clean and Comfortable
PERC Booth Shows Advantages of Propane Lifestyle
HGTVPro.com Interviews the Experts, Holds Panel on Color
Politics & Government
Green Mandate an Obstacle to HOPE VI Support
States Taking the Lead to Limit Home Foreclosures
Permit Process Remains Top Industry Concern Even in Downturn
Illegal Worker Crackdown a Threat to Businesses, Report Finds
Economics & Finance
Builders Cut Housing Starts Further in December
Builder Confidence Virtually Unchanged in January
NAHB Members Urged to Complete Economic Data Census Form
Useful Links to Monitor Economic and Housing Trends
Get Top-Level Survival Tips at ‘Executive Edge’ at IBS
Builders' Tip: Reduce Cleanup With This Paintbrush Garage
Business Management
Computer Labs at IBS Showcase Builder Technology
50Plus Housing
Madison’s Troy Gardens Builds a Sense of Community
Learn About Multifamily Forecast, Marketing at IBS
NAHB Averts End to Census Bureau Remodeling Data
Things You Can Do If the Slowdown Slowed You Down
Do You Know a Remodeler Who Deserves Recognition?
Building Systems
Quality, Not Speed, Important to Modular Home Buyers
Courses Provide Training on Proper Roof Installation
Light Commercial Offers Challenges, Opportunities
Education Calendar
Green Building
Green Building Standard Comments Due Feb. 4
Green Building Award Entries Deadline Soon
Best in American Living Awards Fete Set for Feb. 12
Rapanos Guidance Fails to End Wetlands Permit Confusion
Construction Safety
Safety Award Finalists Named, Ceremony Tickets Available
Industry Leaders to Recognize Job Corps Graduates
HGTV Giving Away $2 Million Dream Home in Florida Keys
NAHB-Produced Programs on DIY, Fine Living and HGTV
Charitable Contributions to Be Honored at Builders’ Show
Association News
Bob Moomey, Spokesperson Trainer for NAHB, Dies at 71
NAHB Board Meeting Set for Feb. 15 in Orlando
Introducing the Hertz Green Collection. Reserve and Conserve.
Dell to Give Double Discounts in February
UPS Offers Up to 30% Discount to NAHB Members on Shipping
Calendar of Events
NAHB Career Center

Related Articles

NAHB Averts End to Census Bureau Remodeling Data

Do You Know a Remodeler Who Deserves Recognition?

Things You Can Do If the Slowdown Slowed You Down

The talk and questions around here of late have been about the housing slowdown and what it might be doing to my business.

“Are you slow?” “Has the housing slowdown affected your remodeling business?” friends and acquaintances have asked.

Well, even if you are a remodeler exclusively, it would be foolish to ignore the housing market and the potential effect it might have or be having on your business.

Here in Southern Arizona, housing starts were down at the end of 2007 by about 50% from their peak in 2005. For 2008, housing starts are expected to be flat or just slightly higher than the year before. So what does that mean for remodeling?

Last year at Dakota Builders, we wrapped up with about a 5% drop in business. I’m not sure if that’s attributable to the housing market slowdown, but the change is so slight, it’s not worth me spending the time to diagnose it.

But there are a few generalizations worth noting for the year ahead.

Similar to the government’s durable goods forecasting, when people don’t buy new houses, they don't buy other “new” purchases like new patios, new den conversions or redecorating either.

Also, if no one is buying a new house, then some existing homes aren’t being sold, right?

Now, given that a significant amount of remodeling is done just before and after the sale of a home, what might that mean for your business for the coming year?

Here is something else to consider. When home owners start to question their equity situation and property values, they tend to pull back from major purchases.

The home addition that seemed to make economic sense last year now becomes questionable in their minds. The equity home owners were going to use for the new master suite may have just tightened a bit and so forth.

But, while this won’t be a year to break remodeling records, it also doesn’t have to be time to retreat and hibernate. There will always be prospective customers with needs independent of economic conditions ― maintenance and repair items that can’t wait, or long-term goals that outlive a one- or two-year cycle.

Here are a few things you can do to maintain a reasonable amount of work.

  • First, take a good, hard look at your company’s "best" project or "sweet spot."

    For example, if your best projects have historically been whole-house remodels or additions of more than $200,000, it might be time to consider whether you can profitably tackle baths, kitchen, porches, decks or other smaller-scale projects.

    You’ll have to consider labor, in-house capabilities, your market audience and more to make this assessment.

  • You also might want to begin contacting some of your old customers and remind them that you do small jobs, too.

    If they only remember you as the firm that added 1,000 square feet to their home, they might not think of you for the bathroom facelift or new deck they’ve been considering.

  • And speaking of contacting people, that’s where NAHB Remodelers can help.

    Where else can you find a group of like-minded professionals who have been through it before and have successful coping strategies to share? NAHB Remodelers has a deep network of remodelers, vendors, suppliers and trades to give advice and serve as a referral source.

As association members, we all realize that we’re in this together, and only by keeping strong and profitable can our association thrive. So it’s in all our best interests to help out our fellow members.

The online resources, business tools, marketing and management tips, employee and company policy advice alone are worth multiple times your membership fees, and it’s all there for the asking.

Take advantage of your local membership opportunities. Make every meeting an occasion to chase leads, build relationships and renew or strengthen old ones.

Greg Miedema, CGR, CAPS, is president of Dakota Builders in Tucson, Ariz. He is the founder of his local Remodelors™ Council, a member of the NAHB Remodelors™ Council Board of Trustees and served as the chairman of the Southern Arizona Home Builders Association (SAHBA), the first remodeler to chair the association. The SAHBA also named Dakota Builders, Inc. the Remodelor™ of the Year in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2003. For more information, e-mail Miedema, or visit the Dakota Builders Web site at www.dakotabuildersinc.com.

'How to Find a Professional Remodeler' Available at BuilderBooks.com

"How to Find a Professional Remodeler," available at BuilderBooks.com, promotes the professionalism of your remodeling business by offering valuable advice to your customers on the process of selecting a remodeler.
The brochure guides consumers from the dream to the reality of having their homes remodeled by skilled and trained professionals. Sections include what to look for in a professional remodeler and what questions to ask.
To view or puchase this publication online, click here, or call 800-223-2665 to order.



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